Slowly our ordinary life is being pulled apart at the seams, and we’re so ok with it.
Over time, compassion and passion have come together and created an alliance that has ruined us for the mundane. We long for the extraordinary, to be hope-revivers and peace-bringers and freedom-sparkers, for God to move in powerful ways that are so beyond us.
There's something exotic about travelling to a far land to do ministry, but we must not forget about our own people, our own land.
A 3-hour flight this week, with no passport necessary, has taken us so far, yet right at home. Being in Nunavut at this time of year, with only 4 hours of daylight and 20 hours of darkness, has been so eye-opening.
We’ve been made aware of issues that we can’t not do something about.
Walking through a cemetery on the edge of town, we saw the grave of this young man, dug less than a month ago. One of so many stark white crosses on fresh white snow.
This community and so many communities in the north have lost so many lives to suicide; the suicide rates here are more than 10x the rest of Canada and the world. Something so tragic—a life ended when it's barely begun—has become far too normal.
Too many fresh graves.
And Nunavut is not alone in this—northern communities all across Canada are struggling. The First Peoples of Canada are calling for emergency relief in a suicide crisis that is getting tragically worse.
Just yesterday, the CBC news headline read: “First Nations Losing ‘Babies’ to Suicide”, after a 10-year-old girl committed suicide in Bearskin Lake, Ontario. The suicide rate for children under 15 in some Ontario First Nations communities is more than 50 times the national average.
We are hoping to visit these northern Ontario communities this summer, to sing songs of hope and give out Bibles with the Gideons International in Canada. Please pray that the right connections can be made so that this trip can become a reality.
There is no time to waste. We must spread Hope!
John 1:5 says that “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it”. Our experience in the north this week was exactly that… the darkness was thick, it was tangible… but the light of the word of God is shining bright in the North.
Our Gideon team found the right person to ask about putting Hope magazines in the waiting room at the hospital in Iqaluit. The magazines are a beautiful compilation of Psalms and photography, beautifully contemporary and accessible. The lady paused, then said, "how about a magazine and a Bible at every hospital bedside, plus extra for the waiting room, plus could you leave an extra box for us?" Um…yes. In southern Canada, the red tape and resistance to the word of God is huge. While other hospitals are closing their doors to scripture, in the Arctic the doors are open.
On Sunday morning , we visited a church—it has seen so much loss, been burned to the ground and had a suicide inside, the pastor struggling through his own son’s suicide… yet now the beautiful church is rebuilt and standing tall and bright.
What a privilege it is for all of us, wherever we are… even as we struggle through our own darkness… to be able to point people to the Light.
Two of the days we were there, we ministered at a soup kitchen, feeding hungry, homeless tummies and sharing hope through our songs and through conversations about God.
I’ve never seen someone light up the way this man did when we gave him a Bible. He jabbered on and on in Inuktitut—we couldn’t understand a thing he was saying—and we had to politely decline when he offered a piece of raw caribou meat from his pocket as a gift!
I marvel at the ways people find light in dark places.
I marvel at the resiliency and adaptability of the human race.
I'm reminded of the beautiful heritage of this country, our country.
We are the north, strong and free. I'm reminded of our beginnings. The First Peoples. The God who's been with us from the start.
God keep our land.